Skip to main content

tv   CNN Presents  CNN  September 7, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

2:00 am
>> i said three words. should i have said something else? what is more to the point than "beware of cockpit intrusion". >> is that america 11 trying to call? >> they are the people who awoke september 11th living ordinary lives. >> i was in my office sitting in that chair. >> suddenly thrust into one of the most horrific days in this nation's history. >> they said, we have some planes. >> nobody move. if you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. >> we clearly had a hijack in progress. >> they just said, be prepared to shoot down the next hijack track. i said roger. >> and the report ten miles from the white house. nine miles. eight miles. >> this is their story. >> if it was going to hit anything, it was going to hit
2:01 am
us. >> the foot notes of 9/11. tuesday, september 11th, 2001 dawned temper at and nearly cloudless in the eastern united states. so begins the 9/11 commission report on what was about to become a day filled with dark skies. the first event of that day happened not in washington, boston or new york but here in portland, maine, at mike tuey's u.s. airways ticket counter. it was just before 6:00 a.m., and he had just checked in the first commuter flight to boston. >> i stepped out on the sidewalk and had a smoke. but just as i stepped over-the-counter i look up and i see these two fellows standing there. and they're looking around. >> in the official report of the 9/11 attack, there are 1,742
2:02 am
footnotes. mike tuey, name spelled wrong, is the very first. >> i look at the tickets and i go, oh, first class tickets. you don't see $2400 tickets anymore. and these were real tickets. they were not -- they were paper tickets. so i'm saying, well, good thing. i can check them in. first class. >> the names on the tickets, abdul aziz alomari and mohammad ata, the ring leader of the operation. >> i think they were less than 30 minutes prior to their flight. i'm sure they were. >> 500 miles away and one hour and 46 minutes later, vaughn alex was at an american airlines ticket counter at dulles airport where he had worked for 20 years. >> they came in through the doors behind us, walked back and forth a little bit. and i had them come right up to my position. >> vaughn alex is footnote number 12. >> we had just finished the
2:03 am
morning check in. actually the counter was clear at that point. we had no passengers. and i saw these two gentlemen come in. and it was kind of -- you look back on it. and you hate to use words but it was comical. they came in and they kind of went one way, they looked at our counter, they went the other way. and i turned around to my trainees and i just said, that's 77. watch. it's going to be the last two. >> the passengers? two of that flight's five hijackers. brothers,nalaf and salam, alhasni. they too were running late, missing the official check in deadline by minutes. >> at that point i said to the agent, let me show you how to do this because here's a passenger that's running late but i think we can get them on. >> the younger fellow, he's standing sort of off to the right and behind him. and he's standing there. and he's got this grin on his face. and he's holding his license up next to his head.
2:04 am
and i'm asking the question, has anybody given you anything to carry onboard the plane? no. have your bags been out of your control since the time you packed him? he's going -- just shaking his head like that and smiling at me. okay. and ata, he's the opposite. he's holding his license like this. he's not looking at me. he's got his head cocked off to the side. he's just, no. no. >> and the impression i've always had was so odd. because he was grinning. he was smiling. and he was dancing back and forth. they had one bag, totally inappropriate for a trip to los angeles. it was almost like a satchel that had strapped across the top of it but didn't even -- didn't even seal. >> for both vaughn alex at dulles and mike touhey in portland, something just didn't seem right. >> i looked and i says if this guy don't look line like an arab terrorist nobody does.
2:05 am
>> but this was pre 9/11. >> and i said, that's not a nice thing to think. in this day and age, you've dealt with thousands of arabics and sheiks and muslims. it's not nice to think like that. just a couple of guys heading out of town. but he did give me a creepy feeling, you know. >> if i had somebody i wasn't comfortable with, i would follow them over to security and sometimes give a high sign to one of the security guys. >> did you consider doing that? >> i did. as they left the ticket counter i stepped off the ticket counter and followed them for about three steps, caught myself. i said, why am i doing this? am i really sure that there might be something wrong? or am i doing this for other reasons that -- because they're foreign or non-english-speaking? >> i mean, you caught yourself thinking, am i racial profiling, basically, right? >> i caught myself thinking, yeah, am i doing this for a
2:06 am
racial reason. and i said no, i'm not doing it for that. and i didn't want to be accused of that. and i went back to what i was doing. >> right after they left the ticket counter they came around here. >> i had no reason to doubt that they were who they said they were. i didn't know that they were terrorists. i didn't know anything until the next day. >> the next day would change vaughn alex forever. >> i just looked up at the two fbi. and i said, i did it, didn't i? i checked them in. >> but touhey would realize his role within hours of the crashes. >> i was an idiot. he was the terrorist! >> it was immediate. >> immediately. i mean, come on, two planes? one in a lifetime. two in a day? never. >> it would be only the beginning of touhey's ten-year
2:07 am
struggle to forget one face. >> why do i see mohammed ata driving by me looking at me in a car? >> and the day was not over. many more ordinary americans were about to become footnotes of 9/11. >> all i know is that there was trouble and i wanted to warn everybody. [ male announcer ] we asked real people right off the street to help us with an experiment for the febreze set & refresh. they agreed. [ facilitator ] take a deep breath. what do you smell? there's a freshness. actually it takes me outdoors. apples and pears. sort of a crisp, fresh feeling. it's a friendly environment. [ facilitator ] go ahead and take your blindfold off. [ laughs ] no... [ male announcer ] the febreze set & refresh with scented oils that eliminate odors for 30 days so you can breathe happy, guaranteed.
2:08 am
♪ got so many scratches and scars ♪ ♪ maybe time can mend us together again ♪ ♪ it's not what we've done but how far we've come ♪ ♪ i know that we will recover [ male announcer ] here when you need us most. ♪ i know that we will recover
2:09 am
met an old man at the top asked him if he had a secret and the old man stopped and thought and said: free 'cause that's how it ought to be my brother credit 'cause you'll need a loan for one thing or another score 'cause they break it down to one simple number that you can use dot to take a break because the name is kinda long com in honor of the internet that it's on put it all together at the end of the song it gives you freecreditscore-dot-com, and i'm gone... offer applies with enrollment in but not in my neighborhood. ♪ [ female announcer ] we're throwing away misperceptions about natural gas vehicles. more of the vehicles that fuel our lives use clean american natural gas today. it costs about 40 percent less than gasoline, so why aren't we using it even more? start a conversation about using more natural gas vehicles in your community.
2:10 am
2:11 am
at 7:59 a.m., american airlines flight 11, a boeing 767 with 81 passengers and 11 crew was taking off from boston's logan airport on its way to los angeles. at the u.s. airways mike touhey checked them in for their first flight in portland, the two had made their connection and were now seated in 8 d and 8 g. they would be joined by three more. satam al sukami and brothers walil and -- as the plane made its routine ascent, american airlines emerged as a blip on the faa's air traffic control systems. >> good morning, american 11 is with you passing through 1,000 to 4,000. >> terri biggio, footnote 102, was overseeing flight operations for the faa's boston center.
2:12 am
>> normal routine day. we were working the morning push. and we were set up for a routine day. >> mike mccormick footnote 127 was in charge of the faa's center in new york. he had spent the past weekend celebrating his 45th birthday with his family in the city. >> we spent the weekend. that was my son's first visit to the world trade center. >> you went to the trade center like a lot of tourists do. we went up to the base of the south tower. and i had him stick his toes right up against the building and look straight up the building into the sky. and you get that sense of vertigo you can only get in a city like new york. >> in the next 15 minutes, mccormick and biggio would face the biggest challenges of their careers. at 8:14 a.m., american airlines
2:13 am
flight 11, a blip on terri biggio's radar screens, was climbing through 26,000 feet and would make its last transmission to air traffic control. >> america 11, turn 20 degrees right. >> 20 right, american 11. >> but then, 16 seconds later, it goes silent. >> american 11, boston. >> at boston to's air traffic center, terry biggio and his controllers know something is wrong. >> i don't think you immediately thought hijacking. >> absolutely not. i mean, i've been in the agency at the time about 20 years, had never seen a hijack. we thought, okay, we had a catastrophic failure of some sort with the aircraft. they can't talk to us. we'll clear the air space away from them and let them fly to wherever they're going to fly. >> as the plane turned south, the 9/11 commission report believes the hijackers tried to talk with passengers on board
2:14 am
but did not know how to use the intercom. instead, the messages in middle eastern accents, began transmitting to air traffic control. >> american 11, are you trying to call? >> we had a series of three transmissions. first one about 8:25. and the transmission was -- the first portion was not intelligible to the controllers. >> biggio asked a specialist named robert jones to pull the tape, review it and report back. >> i made sure i had those words exact. this was so important i didn't want to misinterpret what was said. >> nobody move. everything will be okay. if you try to make any move, you'll injure yourself and the airplane. just stay quiet. >> we had a hijack in progress. >> american 11 was now a confirmed hijacking and heading straight for new york, where mike mccormick was in charge for the faa's new york center.
2:15 am
>> had you dealt with even a potential hijacking before? >> no. that was absolutely the first time. it was a brand-new event for me. >> this is the air traffic operation at new york center. it's the largest control room in the united states. >> mike mccormick sprinted to the floor of new york's air traffic control and went directly to an already crowded screen displaying the air space where the plane was headed. area b. >> altitude and in fact they're turning southbound. i knew that it was going to be area b, so i could be with the controllers and with the supervisors and look at the radar display. >> you wanted to see that plane? >> absolutely. walked up into the radar screens right in here and went back and forth between the radar screens looking at the activity as it took place and taking appropriate actions and make the right decisions. >> with flight 11 not responding, controllers turned to other eyes in the sky, asking other commercial airline pilots if they could spot the american airlines jet.
2:16 am
one of the crews responding, united flight 175. >> see if you can see an american 767 out there, please. >> okay, we're looking. negative contact. united 175. >> okay. united 175, you have him at your 12:00 now. >> affirmative. we have him. he looks about 29, 28,000. >> one of those planes you contacted was united plane. >> yes. and united was one of the aircraft that we actually asked to help identify american. >> united 175 also had left boston bound for l.a. the crew had no idea. it, too, was about to be hijacked. terry biggio and mike mccormick were focusing on the american airlines flight 11, full of fuel and headed south. >> you can't assume that aircraft was going to do anything in new york. possibly it was going to continue south and go south to washington. >> air force base cape cod.
2:17 am
national guard fighter pilot duffy is about to become 9/11's footnote 117. >> american from boston to new york it looked like the real thing. >> were you prepared to take plane down? >> active air defense scramble. can climbing to level 290. [ male announcer ] the network --
2:18 am
a living, breathing intelligence that's helping people rethink how they live. ♪ in here, video games are not confined to screens. ♪ excuse me, hi. my grandfather lived in this village. [ woman speaking italian ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪
2:19 am
in here, cars call mechanics before you do. ♪ [ radio chatter, siren wails ] pass me to the patient, please. [ male announcer ] in here, doctors see you before you get to the hospital. no, we didn't pass it. yeah, pull up the map. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. ♪ [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network... a network of possibilities... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. ♪
2:20 am
2:21 am
8:46 a.m., otis air base, cape cod. tim duffy, a commercial airline pilot for united, was working his second job, on alert as a fighter pilot with the massachusetts air national guard. duffy, footnote 117, is given the order to scramble his f-15. it there is a confirmed hijacking. the order for duffy and his wing man, take off from this now deserted air field. >> i have an active air defense scramble, f-15 climbing level 290. >> under orders to find and intercept american flight 11. >> so these were the two hangars. >> yep. these are cells three and four. there were jets in all of them depending on which jets we were going to move that day.
2:22 am
these were lined up. hot missiles and hot gun. >> by the end of this morning, duffy would be asked if he is prepared to use those missiles to bring down u.s. passenger jets. that meant he might be shooting down a plane carrying his united airlines colleagues. >> and they just said, be prepared to shoot down the next hijack track. i said roger. they came on right after that and said, do you have a problem with that? and that kind of ticked me off. that's why it kind of sticks in my memory for that call being in that situation if i wasn't ready to do what i was called for i was the wrong person in that seat. >> at boston center, terri biggio has asked quality assurance specialist robert jones to review a tape of the terrorists' radio transmissions. on that tape, a startling find. 9/11 may be bigger than just one plane. >> we have some planes. just stay quiet and you'll be
2:23 am
okay. we are returning to the airport. >> we can hear the hijacker reference planes, meaning multiple planes, more than one aircraft involved. and what i was doing was using the phone and relaying back to terry up in the operations area that there's potentially more aircraft involved. >> even today, the hair on the back of my neck stands up when we talk about the hijacking. >> and you were following it to new york? >> thinking that we watched the speed. very high rate of speed. i believe it was about 600 knots southbound extremely unusual for an air carrier. so that was another indication that something was obviously really bad because someone's in a real hurry here. and i was watching the track of american 11 continue southbound. slowed down. that's why we thought it was landing at either kennedy or new york, setting themselves up for an arrival. >> but it isn't landing, what biggio doesn't see on his radar screen is this. >> i was on the phone with the new york center, operations manager. he said no, he hit the building.
2:24 am
we knew. we knew it was american 11. we watched it fly. watched it disappear. there was no doubt. >> breaking the sound barrier, tim duffy is barrelling towards manhattan, still under orders to intercept a plane. but which plane? his conversation with air traffic control shows how fast events were moving that chaotic morning. >> okay. i understand you're going out to look for american 11, correct? >> affirmative. >> okay. i've just got information that aircraft has been crashed into the world trade center. so i'm not quite sure what your intentions are if you're still going to head that way or you may want to talk to your operations. >> then, 17 minutes after american airlines flight 11 slams into the world trade center's north tower -- at 9:03 a.m., united 175 hits the south tower. >> we were about 60 miles from
2:25 am
kennedy, probably about 80 miles. that's when they told me the second aircraft just hit the world trade center. obviously some confusion in my cockpit. i thought i was chasing american flight 11. a second aircraft i didn't even know about. i looked up right away and i could see the smoke coming out of both towers. as i saw the towers burning, we're obviously under attack. >> in the new york air traffic control center, mike mccormick, too, realizes the united states is under assault from the air. >> we have to do something to remove their weapons. the weapons are unfortunately aircraft. so i couldn't allow any more aircraft to be in and around new york. because i didn't know what else could happen. so i made the decision that we clear the skies. we brought all the supervisors from all the areas up here and provided a briefing to them. this is what's happened. this is what we're doing. this is how we're going to do it. >> eventually the unprecedented no fly order would spread from
2:26 am
new york to nation-wide. >> all aircraft on the ground for a national emergency. >> every airplane in the sky literally thousands would be told to land. any airplane that refused the order would be considered hostile. >> only battle stationery craft up right now. >> at 10:00 the skies were empty of all aircraft except for military aircraft. >> as the military was being called to protect the air, a united airlines employee was on the ground, desperately trying to save his flights from disaster. >> they said hijacking alert. they said a possible hijacking. [ barks ]
2:27 am
[ cat meows ] [ woman ] ♪ i just want to be okay ♪ be okay, be okay ♪ i just want to be okay today - ♪ i just want to know today - [ whistles ] ♪ know today, know today - [ cat meows ] - ♪ know that maybe i will be okay ♪ [ chimes ] travelers can help you protect the things you care about... and save money with multi-policy discounts. are you getting the coverage you need... and the discounts you deserve? for an agent or quote, call 800-my-coverage...
2:28 am
or visit confidence. available in color. depend for women is now peach. looks and fits like underwear. same great protection. depend. good morning. great day.
2:29 am
2:30 am
for six years, ed balance linger has been sailing away from his memories. his refuge? this boat named the great old broad. he's been afloat with his wife trying to escape the memory of a few brief words. beware cockpit intrusion. >> they said hijacking alert. hijacking.
2:31 am
so they said possible hijacking. >> he is footnote 69. ten years ago on september 11th, he was a dispatcher for united airlines in chicago handling 16 flights leaving the east coast and heading west. including united's flights 175 out of boston and 93 from newark. >> first indication i had 175 was when the stewardess on board had called in her contact which was the maiden center that they were hijacked. >> in united airlines san francisco maintenance office, supervisor rich bellamy was working one more day before leaving for a new job. >> i was looking around the room and drinking my cough fear, realizing this was my last day. kind of bittersweet. and i heard a commotion, someone talking about something hit a building in new york. and i go, that's odd.
2:32 am
>> at that moment, one of his workers catches his attention. bellamy is about to become footnote 81. >> he's walking up towards me, white as a ghost. i can just tell something's wrong. and he says, i just got a call from 175. the crew has been killed. the plane has been hijacked. >> inside united's maintenance office, bellamy was overseeing the routine calls flight crews make in the air. air phones dialled to star 349, spelling fix on the keypad. flight attendants asking about coffeemakers that didn't work or entertainment systems that needed fixing. but at 9:36 a.m., the call bellamy answered was chilling. it was from flight 93. >> then a female voice comes on the line and goes, a flight attendant has been killed. there's two guys, one guy in the cockpit, one guy's at first class behind the curtain.
2:33 am
and extremely calm. i was trying to act calm. as a controller we always want to be calm and in control. but she had me beat. she was like talking to a friend. >> united flight attendant sandy bradshaw was calmly telling her airline the plane was no longer being controlled by the crew. back in chicago, ed ballinger, alerted about the possible hijacking, was trying to send out warnings, messages, anything he could to try and save his planes. >> all i know is that there was trouble and i wanted to warn everybody. >> one of those flights he tried to warn by the airline's version of an e-mail, united flight 93. >> and i was sending out messages, one after the other. i think i sent 123 messages in a short time an hour. i don't know what it was. like screaming on the keyboard. i don't want to get the captain excited. i don't want to put something in
2:34 am
are you in trouble. i sent him a discreet message, can i be of assistance? can i help you? and at that time, these huge cbs we have came on with cnn. >> this just in. you are looking at a very disturbing live shot there. that is the world trade center. >> i saw the second airplane which i dent know at the time was my airplane, 175, hit the second tower. >> that looks to me certainly a passenger jet. >> and i thought the most succinct method of doing alert, "beware, cockpit intrusion". i sent it to all my 16 flights. and before i got that one off, 93 called up and said they had -- >> at that moment 93 was routine. >> it was routine. >> so you send out your note and you know they got that. >> he came back, confirmed. i confirmed back with him by telling him two airlines hit the world trade center. which i sent to all the other flights.
2:35 am
>> but the confirmation came too late. investigators say two minutes after flight 93's pilot, jason doll, requested clarification, hijackers stormed his cockpit. >> beware cockpit intrusion say it all? can you say it faster? quicker? and i wanted to quickly get the message out. >> ten years later, you're still thinking that. >> yeah. yeah. instead of writing a dissertation, i sent it fast. i keep asking myself that question. >> isn't that the real reason you're out on this boat? >> it could be. >> rich bellamy, recounting his call from a flight 93 flight attendant for the first time,
2:36 am
also wonders what more he could have done. >> boy, i think about that all the time. you know, and i think what should i have said to her. and i go, should i have said something encouraging? because i knew what was going on. should i have said a prayer? you know, i don't know. she's an employee. she's doing her job. there's something wrong with the airplane. call work. now let's do our thing. and what they decided to do, which is amazing and shows a huge amount of courage, is when they know their end is near but they said, hey, we're not going to give up. i think we should never forget that. >> when did you find out they didn't make it? >> well, we can see the faa had it on scope. and we could tell that it was 93. the final crashing did not enter my mind.
2:37 am
>> when his shift ended, so did ballinger's 44 year long career. he tried to go back to work but became so overly cautious he began making up reasons to keep planes on the ground. he retreated for six months to this warehouse where he restored his old sailboat. he was put on 100% disability and retired. he's been sailing with his wife sally ever since. >> do you still have a problem? >> i don't know. i play a lot of music for myself. i do that. i try not to get into any confrontations at all. i guess i got problems in that respect. i don't want to relive it. >> up next, another hijacked jet.
2:38 am
american airlines flight 77 from washington makes an unauthorized turn south heading right towards footnote 208. secret service agent nelson garabito at the white house. >> it's the one nearest us got closer and closer, six minutes out, five minutes out. it kept coming. and then at one point we got under a minute and i said, it's about 30 seconds out. hello there. i'm here to pick up helen. ah. mom? he's here. nice wheels. oh, thanks. keeps me young. hello there, handsome. your dinner's in the microwave, dear. ♪ where do you want to go? just drive. [ engine revs, tires screech ]
2:39 am
mom? ♪ with a verizon mobile hotspot, you can connect up to 5 wifi devices to the internet with lightning-fast verizon 4g lte speed. a gaming device. ereader. mp3 player. connect any 5 for wifi on the go. get the 4g lte mobile hotspot now for only $49.99. verizon is the place with the largest selection of 4g lte devices. on america's fastest, most advanced 4g network. sadly, no. oh. but i did pick up your dry cleaning and had your shoes shined. well, i made you a reservation at the sushi place around the corner. well, in that case, i better get back to these invoices... which i'll do right after making your favorite pancakes. you know what? i'm going to tidy up your side of the office. i can't hear you because i'm also making you a smoothie. [ male announcer ] marriott hotels & resorts knows it's better for xerox to automate their global invoice process
2:40 am
so they can focus on serving their customers. with xerox, you're ready for real business. why did you buy my husband a falcon? thanks for the falcon. i didn't buy anyone a falcon. sure, you did. you saved us a lot of money on auto insurance. i used that money to buy a falcon. ergo, you bought me a falcon. i should've got a falcon. most people who switch to state farm save on average about $480. what they do with it, well, that's their business. oh, that explains a lot, actually. [ chuckles ] [ male announcer ] another reason
2:41 am
people switch to state farm. aw, i could've gotten a falcon. [ male announcer ] get to a better state. [ falcon screeches ] [ male announcer ] get to a better state. met an old man at the top asked him if he had a secret and the old man stopped and thought and said: free 'cause that's how it ought to be my brother credit 'cause you'll need a loan for one thing or another score 'cause they break it down to one simple number that you can use dot to take a break because the name is kinda long com in honor of the internet that it's on put it all together at the end of the song it gives you freecreditscore-dot-com, and i'm gone... offer applies with enrollment in i could not make working and going to school work. it was not until the university of phoenix that i was able to work full-time, be a mom, and go to school. the opportunits that i had at the university of phoenix, dealing wh profesonals teaching things that they were doing every day, got me to where i am today. i'm mayor cherie wood, i'm responsible for the largest urban renewal project in utah,
2:42 am
and i am a phoenix. [ male announcer ] find your program at
2:43 am
2:44 am
>> as the one nearest us got closer and closer, six minutes out, five minutes out, we knew it was sort of over the cia and we thought, is that where it's going? but it kept coming. and then at one point we got under a minute and i said, it's about 30 seconds out. >> in new york, faa control manager mike mccormick was on a teleconference call listening helplessly to a similar countdown. >> the washington controllers came up on the speaker phone. he started counting down ten miles from the white house, nine miles from the white house, eight miles from the white house. all the way down to one mile from the white house. >> seems like more that 30 seconds. and he said, i don't know. it's dropped off our radar. >> american flight 77 did not hit the white house. instead it crashed into the
2:45 am
pentagon. as for the fourth plane, the passengers on board united flight 93 made sure the terrorists wouldn't hit anything but a field in shanksville, pennsylvania. >> those individuals on that aircraft that fought back may have saved my life. or the lives of those in the capitol. when i think of that, those are the first heroes i think of, the first people that fought back. and we'll never know. if we, the white house, was a target or whether it was the capitol. >> as that terrible morning went on, the footnotes of 9/11 would remain on duty. lieutenant colonel tim duffy flew over manhattan for five more hours. and he would witness one of the worst images from his cockpit. looking directly down on the last standing tower of the world trade center as it imploded. >> i flew right up over the top
2:46 am
of it and just kind of rolled up on the edge so i could look down at it. and i was looking at the square of the tower. and as i was looking at the square it just started getting smaller. and then as i was looking at it i could see the plume coming out the bottom. i realized that it was falling away from me. i got to say that's the one time during the day where i was absolutely horrified. >> the image would not stop him. days after 9/11, days after his company lost two planes, tim duffy volunteered to fly a united airlines jet to tokyo. in between commercial assignments, he would patrol the east coast in his fighter jet. faa managers terri biggio and mike mccormick would take this day and ask what more they could do. after invading iraq, the u.s. government would try to rebuild iraq's infrastructure, including its air traffic control system. mike mccormick volunteered and
2:47 am
recruited others, including biggio whose brother-in-law was fighting there for the u.s. >> i felt like i was on the sidelines. i felt i could do more. i've got all this experience. i was a faa academy instructor. they needed a training program for the iraqi patrollers. and that was something that i've done for my entire career. so i've done all those things. and i felt i could help. i signed up in a minute. >> biggio would help train air traffic controllers in iraq, spending nearly a year. mike mccormick stayed through four tours. >> i don't think anyone ever gets over. september 11th is irrevokably intertwined into everything i am and everything i do today. so it's part of me. >> the footnotes of 9/11 continues. up next, the footnotes who can't forget that face. >> eight months after i was
2:48 am
terrorized. >> psychological problem. .
2:49 am
. [ grandma ] why do relationships matter? [ grandpa ] relationships are the basis of everything. [ grandma ] relationships are life... if you don't have that thing that fills your heart and your soul, you're missing that part of your life that just fulfills you. ♪
2:50 am
[ male announcer ] for us at humana, relationships matter too. the better we know you, the better we can help you choose the right medicare plan. that's why humana agents sit down with you to figure out your medicare options. and we have nurses you can call anytime, even at 3 a.m. because when you're on the right humana medicare plan and taking good care of yourself, then you can be there for the people who matter most. [ grandma ] my family is my joy, my hope... they are my heart. it's the reason we get out of bed in the morning... [ grandpa ] the reason we fall into bed at night sometimes. [ grandma ] yes. that's right. [ male announcer ] humana.
2:51 am
2:52 am
oh, feels good. i miss it. it's been a long time. >> ten years later, tim duffy, now a colonel, is once again seated in the fighter jet he patrolled the skies of new york. he hasn't seen this plane in years. >> it's funny. anytime i see a beautiful baby go flying -- >> the f 15 eagle that patrolled the skies seemingly endlessly after the attack that was tim duffy's bird's eye view of the world trade center north tower collapsing underneath him is now permanently on display at california's pacific coast air museum. >> nice to seat eagle out here. it's a great thing. i think the pacific coast air museum is kind of saving the bird, some of the history that goes with it.
2:53 am
>> duffy no long works for united airlines and now serves in the air force reserves, responsible for supporting the department of defense during disasters. >> after spending time in iraq rebuilding the air traffic control system there, mike mccormick has now been promoted to the faa's headquarters in washington. still carrying a desert camoflauge backpack to remind him of those who have died and those still serving. terri biggio? he's also back from iraq. and he too has been promoted at the faa. to his dream job, overseeing the busiest air traffic control center in the nation, atlanta. his office filled with reminders of 9/11, memories of his father, a former air traffic controller, and a baseball bat from his brother, former houston astro greg biggio. >> i knew when i was about ten years old what i wanted to be. i wanted to be an air traffic controller.
2:54 am
and i accomplished that. and i have absolutely no regrets. as an athlete, a former athlete, it would have been cool. but there's nothing like work airplanes. there's nothing like being involved in our air traffic control system it's the greatest in the world. >> are you glad you were working that morning? >> i was. you know, we wonder -- at points in time depending on your views of religion, why has god put me here? in part for me, i'd like to think that 9/11 was why i was here. >> the united airlines dispatcher, ed ballinger, left the airline after 44 years. he has thought about but has not talked to the relatives of those who died on united flight 93, the flight he tried to warn, to say he was sorry. 9/11 commission investigators say there was nothing more ballinger or any of the footnotes in this story could have done.
2:55 am
still, ballinger remains haunted by the what ifs, still trying to put 9/11 in his wake. when we left him, he and his wife were waiting to go sail away again. rich bellamy who took the phone call from flight 93 now works for a private aviation company. >> again, time went by so quickly. >> nelson garabito is still with the secret service. he's a special agent in charge of the protective intelligence division. vaughn alex and mike touhey, the airline ticket agents who first suspected trouble on 9/11 like the other footnotes, still live in the shadow of that terrible day. the day after the attack, they looked at the suspicious names and the faces of their passengers once more. this time with the fbi. >> the fbi came by my house here. they had a full photo array of
2:56 am
all of these people. they said here, here's a sheet. can you pick out the two? ata was easy because he's got this sallow look of death about him. >> when i came to the name hamzi, it was an unbelievable moment. in less than a second i saw them, i remembered the brothers. i remembered the whole transaction. and i just stopped. my finger was on their names. and i said, i did it, didn't i? these are the guys. and i did it, didn't i? i checked them in. >> it would take touhey days to return to work full time. for alex it would be months before he could return to dulles. >> it had to have been hard to go back to work. >> yes. i'm not going to kid about it. the paranoia obviously, was the next person you checked in going to do something horrible again? or was the next passenger you checked in going to die on a flight that you worked? so it was stressful.
2:57 am
>> you went into a realtain spin after this, didn't you? >> i put a lot on me. my wife was real good about things. >> your wife actually made you go back to work, right? >> i thought about quitting. and she said no. if you don't go back to work they've won. she says, go back to work and go out on your own terms. and i did. i stayed another seven years. >> i continued to work until 2004. it took me awhile to grasp, get my arms around how big it really was. and it just sort of -- it's something that happened. and you adjust to it. but after i retired, eight months after i retired i started having psychological problems. >> psychological problems in that you begin to second guess yourself. >> oh, yeah. things that i don't even believe in, like hallucinations and
2:58 am
seeing people that you know are dead. >> why do i see mohammed ata driving by me looking at me in a car? i know that none of this is true. i said, i know he's dead. >> touhey, long since retired, was afraid to even leave his rural home in maine. he sought counseling, was prescribed medication, and only now realizes he did nothing wrong. vaughn alex now works for the federal air marshalls, helping schedule the cops now in the air. he too will never forget. >> i mean, it never goes away. there's not a single day that i don't think about it. there's not a single day that i don't wonder what would have happened if i had done something differently. i did what i was supposed to do that day. i was supposed to take care of passenger service. and i took care of those passengers.
2:59 am
one of the unfortunate things to this very day is that when i go out on a day when there are no clouds, when i go out on a beautiful day, i look up and i go, that sky is september 11th blue. and that's what was taken away from me. i've never yet been able to look at the sky and not said, september 11th blue because september 11th blue because that's the way it was that day. -- captions by vitac -- tonight the jobs crisis, america's and his. >> there is work to be done, and there are people who are willing to do it. we need congress to get on board.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on